Love.Lost and Found.
My very first romantic short story that I wrote for Writeupcafe.com
I hate Bangalore traffic! I had a flight to Mumbai at seven tonight, it’s fifteen minutes to five and I am still stuck on Ring road. It’s been a while since I was behind the wheel, I usually use Shanmugam my designated driver but his wife was ill so he didn’t show up for work today. I had a conference to attend in Mumbai and I was desperately late.
The universe is out to get me, I laugh at my own foolish thoughts, laughter indeed is the best medicine as I feel a little reprieve from my own mind. It’s been an hour and I have moved about ten meters forward. I have no idea on what’s causing up the clog as the road has 5 lanes on each side.
I see an opening to the overhead flyover which would help me reach the airport in record time and I push the pedal to the metal and just as I start to accelerate, I slam the brakes, a cow passes by giving me a lazy look. Welcome to India! I tell myself and go round the cow with a smile on my face. The smile is replaced by deep thought, What if I had hit the cow? Would God forgive me? Cows are sacred animals in India and killing a cow wouldn’t have been a good omen as well.
Flashback. Five years ago, I went on a one day trip with friends and while returning back home, we hit a cow. Yes, we did and luckily nothing happened to us or the cow but the motorcycle bore most of the damage. I still remember the nervous tension of hiding the motorcycle from my dad and saving money so I could repair the bike. Long story short, never lie and take your dad’s bike without his knowledge. Bad things will happen.
I smile again as I am cruising at a speed of 120km/hr on the flyover thinking about the cow five years ago. I still have about fifty minutes before I reach the toll gate which opens to the airport. I look ahead and I can see a sea of cars ahead. Oh no! not another traffic jam.
Well, I see a sea of cars waiting to get to the airport. I observe that 4 out of the eight toll booths are not functioning. My chest swells up with anger. I blame the stupid government and rant out profound obscenities. After what seems like an eternity, my car and I slowly drive up to the toll booth. I give the operator a piece of my mind, but he seems unperturbed. He is used to the “galli” as he opens the gate.
Twenty minutes to seven and I m in the parking lot feeling disappointed. I know it’s pointless to rush toward the airport as I have missed my flight. I am sure the organizers would be livid when they hear about my ordeal. They had booked a first class ticket as well.
I had to make other arrangements and luckily another flight would leave for Mumbai at ten in the night. I gladly took it and informed the conference organizers while apologizing for my tardiness.
One can see interesting things at an airport if one pays attention and I loved to pay attention to detail. Why? Because I write stories for a living.I am thirty years old, an engineer, who lost interest in working the 9 to 5 job. I discovered my passion for writing when I wrote a short story on WriteUpcafe.com. It went viral, a well- known publisher was interested to know more and the rest is history. I am the author of three books and have God to thank for. I write in the morning, procrastinate, write, procrastinate, write and you know the cycle. I worked hard to achieve my engineering degree, but I knew the day I got my degree that writing was my true calling.
I took a seat near Gate 11 and opened the Macbook pro I own and browsed the internet for mundane things. It was quite chilly in the airport and as I took my jacket from my luggage, a faint cough distracted me and I looked up to see Her.
Ten years ago.
Prithvi, the girl of my dreams. That’s what I called her, she studied in my engineering college and was a junior. She had a huge fan following because she was beautiful, smart, fun-loving and wonderful.How did I know all this? My best friend Akhil had her entire history before me when we passed by her in the college canteen. Akhil harbored a secret crush on her and I was her latest victim.
She was a Brahmin girl who did most of her studies in the USA and landed in India because she lost her father in a road rage accident which left her mom to take care of the family. They relocated back to India to live with their family as there wasn’t anybody to take care of them in USA. She lived with her mother’s parents in Lavelle Road.
It started with following her around in college and see what she was doing from a safe distance. I knew that I would not marry anybody else other than her. I slowly turned insane and I hadn’t spoken to her even once! My friends advised that I either talk to her or forget about her completely and move on with my life. On a Friday, I decided that I would speak to her. I saw her sitting alone in the canteen, I knew I had a tiny window as her besties would soon join her, it was now or never and I sat opposite her, she looked startled but hid it well and looked at the lawn. I said, “Hi”. She looked at me and replied,”Hi”. My heart stopped for a microsecond, she had such a beautiful voice. I thanked God for the wonderful opportunity and wanted to ask her out for a coffee but instead said,” I LOVE YOU”. The words came straight from my heart and I only realized what I had said after saying it. She looked perplexed, she stood up hurriedly, grabbed her bag and dashed out of the canteen. “What have I done?” I thought to myself, I lost the best chance I had with her.
The news of my proposal spread around the college like wild-fire. The story was I proposed to Prithvi and she slapped me, odd how rumors spread are never true to the actual incident. Nonetheless, her besties gave fierce looks when I passed by them the next day, muttering like witches who utter secret incantations under their breath. I had to talk to Prithvi and straighten everything out. I knew she had a break at eleven because her biology lab always ended early. Prithvi’s entire timetable was in my head thanks to my mindless pursuit of her. At eleven a.m, I bunked class in search of her and as predicted she was walking from her biology lab and I ran towards her and said, “Prithvi we need to talk, please hear what I have to say”. She looked at me and nodded, my heart skipped a beat and said,” Let’s go to the coffee joint outside our college and we can talk”. We both walked towards the college exit in silence, a million things ran in my head, I wanted to tell her sorry, I wanted to hold her hand and say sorry, I wanted to tell her I wanted to marry her. I knew I wasn’t infatuated with her, this was love, I deeply loved Prithvi. I wanted her to be my wife, the mother of my children and my soulmate.
The coffee joint was empty, it usually was during college hours, there were a few couples staring at each other with glazed eyes, I wondered when I would be among those lovebirds. Prithvi and I found a table close to a window, we sat in silence for half an hour then the waiter approached and broke the silence by asking what we wanted. She ordered a Frappuccino and I an Ice tea. I looked at her and smiled and she returned a smile as well. I said,”Nice weather” and she replied,” Ya!”. We did some idle chit chat and fell into our bout of silence again. Our drinks arrived and as I sipped my cold Ice tea, Prithvi spurted out,” I love you Vinay”. I spilt all the ice tea on my lap and dropped the glass to the floor. I was in shock, surely I was dreaming. She looked at me and smiled and lip synced an I love you as the waiter cleaned the mess on the floor. I wanted to do a million things at once, but all I managed was a smile and asked her gently while hiding my adrenaline rush,” Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”. Prithvi replied,” I have loved you since the day we met and I was taken aback when you proposed. I couldn’t say yes right away because my heart was doing somersaults and I rushed off.” She continued,” Please love me, take care of me and never leave me and she cried.” I got up and sat beside her, I gently wiped her tears and whispered in her ears,” I will love you and I will never leave you.”
After that day Prithvi and I met at the coffee joint everyday and sat at the same table. We didn’t talk much, we just looked at each other with love in our eyes. That was enough for both of us. There was no facebook, whatsapp or any useful social networking site for us to be in constant touch with each other other. We spoke about completely unrelated things which were of no use to either of us , but it gave us immense joy, for us that was enough.
Then, one fine day, Prithvi didn’t come to college, I wasn’t that worried as I had my finals and was busy preparing for them. I called her when I reached home but there was no answer. I presumed she might be busy. I tried an hour later but still no answer. I told myself that there was no need to panic and made a mental note to call her in the morning.
It was a chilly Saturday morning and I called her again and no answer. I was a little worried, but I had a practical exam to attend and thought I would call her after the exam. It was one in the afternoon, I aced the practical exam and was having a glass of lemon juice and called Prithvi again. She picked up and said,” Please don’t disturb by calling again”. She disconnected the call and left me searching for words. I had no idea what induced such a statement from her and I almost dialed her number again and immediately disconnected, she had explicitly said that I shouldn’t disturb her. I presumed that she really didn’t love me like she said, cried like a baby and moved on.
Prithvi was the first girl I fell in love with and she was the last, I didn’t want to be involved in relationships anymore and decided to be a bachelor for the rest of my life. Girls were complicated and I made my parents understand that I would never get married. My parents thought it was the break up talking and didn’t pay too much attention to it.
It has been ten years since I last saw her and she was still the most beautiful girl I had ever met. She sat about ten feet away wearing a red cardigan sweater and blue jeans. She had her headphones on and was shaking her head to some music number. I presumed that she was also traveling to Mumbai because we both sat in the same gate and our flight was the last flight out of that gate. I contemplated on whether I should go talk to her or not, it had been ten years since I last spoke to her and I still wanted to know why she ended everything abruptly.
I walked towards her timidly, having no idea on how to start the conversation just like ten years ago. The nervousness and anxiety came back and hit me square in the stomach. I stood right in front of her and she was oblivious of my presence. I gently tapped her on her right shoulder and she looked up quizzically. She had the same look ten years ago when I said Hi to her. My repressed feelings for her began to surface again. I gestured her to remove her headphones and after she removed them I said,” Hi, it’s been a long time, How are you? She didn’t answer, I continued,” It’s Vinay, we both went to the same college”. The color drained from her face the minute I told her my name. She just looked at me and didn’t say anything. I stood there and waited for a response, but she still remained still and only kept looking at me. I had had enough and asked her,” Tell me Prithvi, what did I do to deserve this? What had I done wrong for you to just leave me like that? I demand an answer. It has been ten years now, I deserve to know the truth”.
She looked deep into my eyes and finally spoke,” I am not Prithvi, I am her twin sister Pavithra”. She continued,” Prithvi passed away in a freak road accident while she was going back home from college. It was a hit and run case. She died en-route to the hospital”. Tears rolled down Pavithra’s face while I was in a state of shock. Pavithra said,” It was I who spoke to you ten years ago, I didn’t have any idea who you were and I was grieving over the loss of my twin sister.” She continued,” About a week later, I found her hidden diary where she had written pages about you and her love for you. She loved you more than anybody on this planet. I tried to find you, but I wasn’t successful”.
I didn’t catch her last few words as I fell to my knees with hands buried in my face and cried. I hadn’t cried like this since that call ten years ago. It’s strange how we human beings always assume the worst about people when there could be a perfectly logical explanation for their behavior.
After what seemed like an eternity, I looked up to see her smile. She said,” I can see how much you loved her, all she and I ever wanted was to find a guy who loved us dearly. I know I seem a bit forward but ever since I read about you in her diary, I began to have feelings for you, you were the world to her and I know she never made a wrong choice in her life”. She asked,” Will you marry me?”. When I didn’t answer she continued,” Fate has brought us here at this airport for a reason, I was supposed to go to Mumbai to meet my future husband, but fate has other plans. I would understand if you say no, but after seeing your tears I realized that I can never find a man who would love me like you loved my sister.”
I looked at her and replied,” Yes, I will marry you Pavithra and will love you like I loved your sister as long as I live”.
We got married a week later with both our parents blessings and lived happily ever after.